At just Ksh. 8888 (About $88), and with particularly nice specifications, I named it as the best smartphone one can get under Ksh. 10,000. Then I decided to look for one and do a full review. Some of you have been waiting for the review and wondering why it has taken long. It hasn’t.

I ordered for the phone from Kilimall and it arrived 3 days later. I live 400km+ from Nairobi and I honestly didn’t expect Kilimall deliveries to be that fast. But they don’t Home Deliver so I had to pick it up from the nearest Post Office. And we all know how messy Posta Kenya affairs can be. They’re the slowest. I wish Kilimall starts home deliveries soon. I know a group that’s trying to make exact GPS deliveries a reality in Kenya. Maybe say G4S and Kilimall can partner and try them out and everyone will be receiving their orders at home.

Anyway I got the phone and that’s what you want to know about. So here:

Cubot Note S with Plastic Case

It came nicely packed in a box written “Stop Following, Take the lead”. Everything was new and wrapped and it was nice to see nothing had ever been touched. Nothing whatsoever! It was like “Don’t accept if seal is broken”. I was launching it for the very first time.


The box came with:

  • The phone
  • A free flexible Plastic phone case/cover
  • A black brick charger
  • White unbranded earphones
  • A fake-looking USB cable that I don’t trust is made by Cubot
  • Manuals
  • An extra beautiful flexible plastic phone case/cover which I had ordered for as it has nice art on the back.

We are seeing really nice phones of late launch at very exciting prices. Infinix Hot Note was the best selling in 2015 and is still a good phone, and I think Cubot is trying out to see whether it can achieve the same level of success. Will they do it?

The phone specifications:

  • A 5.5 inch HD display
  • 8MP back camera, 5MP front camera
  • 2GB RAM, 1.3GHz Quad-core Processor
  • 16GB Internal Storage
  • 4150mAh battery
  • Android 5.1 Lollipop

This is all good to know, but reviews are here to tell people how good or bad the phone actually is. And that’s why I had to use the phone first.

So how is this phone good? Let’s see:

Display:

It has a 5.5 inch display with a resolution of 720p. I expected something not good. I thought it’d be like the display on the Infinix Hot 2 which I didn’t much like. But this phone has a wonderful display. At less than 9k, this display beats a lot of phones in the range of 10 to 15k.

The colours are sweet. And there’s this deep saturated black in videos, wallpapers etc when viewing that makes you wonder how exactly a phone this cheap would feature a display that nice.

Cubot Note S display Settings

I think it has something to do with MiraVision which enhances picture quality and as it says there, “provides the best visual effect”. You will love the display.

A feature of the phone that I don’t know how to talk about is the 2.5D screen. I haven’t noticed anything curved about the screen. Or maybe I don’t understand 2.5D. But the display is good.

The phone screen comes with some small protection in the form of a plastic screen guard already attached on the display. It is a tiny layer noticeable when one looks at the screen. It saves your screen from scratches but can’t do much if the device falls down.

Overall Design:

At first I had said I saw nothing good about the devices design. I hadn’t touched it yet by then. I take back my words. The phone is nicely done. Nothing out of the ordinary, fully plastic, but still feels good to hold and use.

The speakers are located at the back. They are not loud. But audio on earphones is pretty nice. Just don’t use the earphones provided. Get your self better earphones.

Cubot Note S Rear Speakers

Cubot is selling some nice cases/covers that match certain wallpapers in the phone and this simple idea makes the phone even more stunning. One looks at the back of the phone and loves the case/cover then starts using the phone and finds the same art applied as a wallpaper. It has wowed many who’ve seen it.

Cubot Note S Wallpapers

You can buy as many back covers as there are and match them to the wallpapers above. Don’t forget one clear back cover is included free of charge.

Performance & Battery:

With 2GB RAM and a Quad-core processor you would expect nothing less than fluidity and good response. The phone can handle anything I have tried on it.

The 4150mAh battery lasts long. You can easily last 2 days on normal use. The problem is charging it from 0% to 100%. That’ll take between 3 to 3 and 1/2 or 4 hours to fill up.

Another issue with the battery is how fast it drops from 100% to 81%. It then stays there for quite some time before proceeding to drop with use. I wouldn’t think this is an issue with battery calibration as that was done perfectly. When I unwrapped the battery, it was used until the phone went off and then charged for 7hrs, as is recommended for all new phone batteries. So Cubot better check that out.

There’s a pretty basic battery saver.

Cubot Note S Battery Saving

It automatically starts saving juice when phone reaches 15%. It doesn’t feature anything exciting other than the way it changes the notifications bar to orange when activated.

Update: Just realised the phone has fast charging and flash charging. Flash charging is when connected to a computer. And Fast charging is when on the charging brick. I don’t know if it works as it showcases ads when charging. It might be a gimmick. 64% to 100% in 43 minutes, what do you think?

Cameras:

Here’s where things get a little bit off for me. The back 8MP camera is nothing I expected. Good as it maybe, there’s nothing exciting for me. The images aren’t as clear and sharp as I would have expected. Nothing when compared to the 8MP camera of the Infinix Hot Note.

Cubot Note S Camera

The 5MP front camera is more like a bad 2MP camera for me. Blurry. Can’t perform well in low lit indoors. Honestly there’s nothing much to say about the cameras. They are not exciting although they do what’s expected. But I didn’t expect a lot as the price you get the device for means little can be done to make the cameras amazing.

Here are some samples.

One:

Cubot Note S Camera Sample 1

Two:

Cubot Note S Camera Sample 2

I wonder why the sample photos on MobiTrends Cubot Note S Review look better. Check them out. Maybe it is the colours on the vases! There are no flowers in this village. I think you’ll probably love the camera from these other samples. Seems like the camera is good with colours.

Opinion:

Is this phone worth it? Yes! Totally. If you need a good looking and very well performing device get this phone.

The only problem for me is the camera and the fact that charging it to 100% is an issue due to its very huge battery.

Go ahead and get it. And if you already do, share your experiences with us in the Comment Sections below.

You can also tell me what you think of the phone.

Good or bad?

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  • josh

    I bought mine at avechi and it came with android 6 marshmallow

    • Manasse

      I also bought mine at Avechi and it has Marshmallow 6.0

  • josh

    Hi…..really nice review. I bought a gold cubot note s and it looks great….it has a superb display and after using it for a month now, it has never lagged.actually the battery is great.I used it from 7 am and by 9pm it was at 25%…I played games, watched all my 250 mp4 videos, played my 129 songs skyed and called a number of pple….I didn’t put it down the whole day…I was amazed.and it takes really good photos in well lit Areas and great selfies.I give it 4 stars…..BTW, I use Microsoft’s arrow launcher

  • Tracy

    It is a nice affordable smartphone. But I think Bluboo Maya is also a good budget choice for us: Android 6.0, 13MP+8MP cameras, Sony camera sensor+ quick focus, customized Face beauty APP, 2GB+16GB, 5.5” HD IPS TFT display, Back cover design, Metal frame, 4.35V battery core, 3000mAh battery, dual SIM dual standby.

  • Lars Røssell

    The MicroSD-capacity of Cubot Note S is 32Gb. But you may actually get a MicroSD with much more storage than 32Gb.

    Mine has 64Gb, which could not be recognized on my Cubot Note S. BUT it is only because of the filesystem. If you chose a FAT partitioning you may go as high as you wish. If you do not have a cardreader to your PC you can do this on a Windows Phone. I used an old Lumia 520. There the MicroSD got formatted. Then Cubot was able to recognize it and asked to format it. And then it worked flawlessly. Now I have a total of 80Gb storage. (These are the official numbers, the actual space usable is smaller)

    I am using the Nova launcher and thus getting rid of the Google Searchbar on every page.
    The Camera is preferable for daylight pictures.

  • Roby Beltra

    Hi, first you made a nice review. Second, how does iGPS work? It’s enough or not for you? Thanks a lot!

    • I don’t know iGPS. But if you meant GPS, the phone has this. And it works. It correctly points to my location.

  • Rigamortis

    What are those huge ass Gs & Es doing next to the signal ? icons on the status bar? Okay, why would the designer make them look so ginormous?

    • I wonder why they made the network icons that big. Infinix once had the same issue. I think an update in future will remove that. That’s if they ever update the phone.

      I live in an area where Safaricom is 2G only when indoors. Imagine when it is in 3G the icons are bigger.

      • Lars Røssell

        You may use the Nova launcher.
        I have no status bar at all on my phone…